Firefly (Lightning Bug)

Their flashing lights can turn a summer evening into a time of magic. Here's the insect that's responsible.
Firefly

Firefly

The adult firefly

The adult firefly
Related To:

Flashing above the lawn and in the trees in the early summer evenings, the firefly engages in its mating rituals, blinking on and off in a pattern that's unique to one of the many sub-species.

Firefly Larva

Firefly Larva

The larval stage of the firefly bears little resemblance to the adult it will become.

The larval stage of the firefly bears little resemblance to the adult it will become.

These insects — actually small beetles — go through a complete metamorphosis. The adults look nothing like the larvae.

The eating patterns between young and old are very different too: Larvae feed on snails, slugs, earthworms and insect larvae; adult fireflies — if they eat at all — feed on nectar and pollen. 

Glowworms are cousins of fireflies but lack wings.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Gardening Q & A: Summer Snowflake Plant and More

Master gardener Paul James talks about pruning candles, cool plants, and no-hassle manure tea.

How to Garden in Just 15 Minutes a Day

No time to garden? Learn 10 easy tricks to multiply minutes in the garden.

Beneficial Insect: Braconid Wasps

Inside each of the little white cocoons on this targeted hornworm is a future garden-pest eating machine.

Glossary of Gardening Terms

Whether you're just starting out or need a refresher, brush up on essential gardening terms with this easy glossary.

Spiny Elm Caterpillar

The spiny elm caterpillar is the larval stage of the mourning cloak butterfly.

Planting Australian Plants in Your Garden

Some of these specimens from Down Under could have great potential for American gardens.

Flannel Moth Caterpillar

The one-inch-long flannel moth caterpillar is fluffy but definitely not friendly. Don't let this cute Einstein-like visage fool you!

How to Adjust to a New Gardening Climate

Get acclimated to your new garden and climate after a move with these simple expert tips.

Extending the Gardening Season

Use these methods to stretch extra days and weeks out of your growing season.

The Lowdown on Garden-Friendly Bugs

Learn about a variety of insects that can help prevent garden pests from terrorizing your yard.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.